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UK’s Prince Edward to visit Israel September 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in The Royals.
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In first visit of British royal family member in over a decade, prince to hand out prizes to Israeli youth

Britain’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, will arrive in Israel on Wednesday for a three-day visit, during which he will distribute prizes to Israeli youths who participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, an international program aimed at encouraging positive developments among youths.

According to a press release by the British embassy in Israel, Prince Edward will arrive at the Haifa Municipality on Thursday to inaugurate a peace mosaic, jointly created by Israeli children from a diverse variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds.

“We invited him to Israel, and are very excited by his visit,” Aviva Ben-Raphael, director of the Israel Youth Award, the local branch of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, told Ynetnews. “Our aim is to lead youths towards a positive education to reduce violence, to create a respect towards society, sports development, and to provide a service for the community,” Raphael said.

“Community service should be an integral part of society, but not in an exploitative way. It should be a way of life, to contribute but not to feel used. To get up in the morning and feel a belonging to the State, have love for the country, and help out of that love,” Raphael added, spelling out the aims of the program. “We want them to believe in themselves and their surroundings,” she added.

Raphael said the unveiling of the peace mosaic would be a “moving event,” adding that Prince Edward was also scheduled to take part in a Friday evening meal in Jerusalem, to be led by the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger.

The prince will also visit Yad Vashem, where his late grandmother on his father’s side, Princess Alice of Greece, has been recognized as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jewish families in Greece during the Second World War.

“The advantage that the program brings in Israel is that it is multicultural and strengthens links between Arabs and Jews, Christians, Bedouin and Druze; all of them as a mosaic and one human fabric,” the Israel Youth Award said on its website, adding: “The award provides direction for young people and a way of life at a time when direction is needed.”